Again, economic and geopolitical issues were front and center in the stock market today, but unlike yesterday, the news was good, and stocks soared as a result. Good news in employment, housing, and manufacturing data combined to send the Dow Jones Industrials (INDEX: ^DJI ) up 123 points, to 12,904.
But even with the market up so strongly, some stocks couldn't join in on the fun. Only one stock fell, but several more had only marginal gains. Let's take a look at three of the worst performers on Thursday.
Kraft Foods (NYSE: KFT ) , down 0.2%
The ongoing saga of the Pringles division of Procter & Gamble took a new turn today, as speculation arose that Kellogg -- which now expects to buy Pringles from P&G for $2.7 billion in cash -- could turn around and acquire Diamond Foods (Nasdaq: DMND ) as well. The beleaguered nut maker, which lost two key executives and is facing an investigation over accounting irregularities, saw its stock rise on the news.
For Kraft, it smarts to be left on the sidelines while events unfold that could have a dramatic impact on its snack business. But until Kraft moves forward with its split, it'd be tough for it to get an acquisition done. It'd be risky for Kellogg or anyone else to buy up Diamond before all of its financial issues get resolved, so it's possible that Kraft will have time to act after its split. But in all likelihood, Kraft will simply have to admit that it missed an opportunity here due to bad timing.
Boeing (NYSE: BA ) , up 0.1%
It's hard to chalk up Boeing's weakness to anything negative. Coming off the heels of the biggest commercial airplane order in its history, a 230-plane order worth $22.4 billion, Boeing got another order for 10 more 787 DreamLiners from Japan Airlines today. The order brought Boeing's total gross orders to 150 for 2012.
Concerns about defense cuts loom over the stock, and of course, any reversal in the recent positive economic news could prove problematic for the aerospace giant. But all in all, Boeing looks to be in much better shape than today's performance suggests.
Travelers (NYSE: TRV ) , up 0.3%
Yesterday, Travelers held up well as a small gainer on a down day. But today, a Bloomberg report revealed the aftermath from the insurer's worst year since 2004, a report which may have played some role in holding back the stock from further gains.
Joining fellow insurers AIG and Hartford Financial in making cuts, Travelers trimmed its workforce by about 1,400, more than 4%, in response to the disaster-prone year, but Travelers still has more than 30,000 employees. In the long run, the moves should help cut costs and eventually boost profits.
What will tomorrow bring?
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